Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1

by Sean Tonelli on October 23, 2013

Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1
Conan the Barbarian has been a staple of the literary word for decades and that’s never going to change. As long as Dark Horse has the license, they are going to keep pumping out book after book and fans will continue to scoop them up. With some already great titles currently on the shelves—I’m looking at you Brian Wood, it makes you wonder if there really is room for yet another tale of heroic barbarism. Unfortunately Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1 isn’t a stand out series and is just another in a long line of soon forgotten Conan books.
The King of Vendhya has died, the victim of a supernatural curse placed upon him by the evil sect the Black Seers. Now his sister Yasmina longs for revenge, but who is man enough to stand up against the evil sect?! Why it’s Conan of course!
The problem with this book is the actual lack of Conan. Our titular hero, who doesn’t even appear until ¾ of the way through, leaves a gaping hole in the pages that the other characters just can’t fill. Unlike Greg Rucka and his run on Punisher, who used a similar method to help build the myth of the character, Van Lente fails to create the mysticism that is needed to make Conan seem larger than life. Here, he seems more like a means to an end.
Olivetti’s art while spectacular at times—my god Conan’s splash page looks good,more often than not lacks a natural flow. Each panel seems to exist on its own terms. This works well for the more epic shots, but for the quieter moments, you can’t help but be taken aback by how alien the world feels and ultimately uninviting.

All in all Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1 is underwhelming and nothing more. Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come when Van Lente takes the reigns of the Conan's on-going tale when Wood departs. 
Conan and the People of the Black Circle #1
Script: Fred Van Lente  
Art: Ariel Olivetti
Letters: Richard Starkings
Publisher: Mike Richardson for Dark Horse Comics

Our Score:


A Look Inside